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The new service bays at Bernard's Northtown provide speedy service for such things as oil changes, tire rotations and the like. Jordy Neumann (pictured) checks the air in a customer's tire after completing an oil change last week.

Bernards strives for customer comfort

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If you get your vehicle serviced at Bernard's Northtown, you no longer have to face the rain, snow or cold.

Thanks to a newly completed addition (6,390 square feet) and remodeled space (799 square feet) at the New Richmond dealership, customers can now drive directly into the service department and have their vehicle needs taken care of.

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The building project, handled by designer and general contractor Derrick Companies of New Richmond, took four months to complete. Bernard's employees moved into the space for the first time Oct. 20.

"We tried to build it as 'green' as we could and economically," said Mark Johnson, senior project manager with Derrick Companies. "There's a lot of natural light and we've installed energy efficient lighting."

Bernard's General Manager Mike Montello said the idea for the project picked up steam after last year's snowy and cold winter weather.

"That definitely had something to do with it ... the super cold winter," he said.

Most Chrysler dealerships in the Twin Cities market have similar drive-in service departments, but Montello said this is the first time it's come to western Wisconsin.

"It's not a brand new thing in the industry, but it's new in New Richmond," he said. "You never have to be outside if you don't want to."

The new space not only provides an indoor place for motorists to pull in, it also creates two new service bays where speedy service and repair jobs can take place.

The fast lube and tire service portions of the business don't require an appointment and motorists will often be in and out within 10-15 minutes, if there isn't a long holding things up, Montello said.

While speed is important for oil changes and tire rotations, Montello said, high-quality service is another goal of Bernard's employees.

"Speed is no good if there isn't a level of quality to it," he said. "We have very experienced technicians."

Montello said the service department offers various economical package deals for oil changes, to serve customers better. A courtesy car wash is also provided to any service customer who requests it. All of the services are provided for Chrysler and non-Chrysler vehicles alike.

Customers who are having other repairs done to their vehicles are also encouraged to use the drive-in doors to drop off their cars and trucks. Vehicles simply need to pull up to one of the two drive-in service bays and the doors will automatically open.

A new lounge area provides a quiet space to read, watch television or connect up with the wireless internet connection at Bernard's. There's also a separate, but attached, kids room complete with toys and books for the little ones.

The new addition also provides Bernard's extra space to deliver vehicles to customers who have purchased a new set of wheels. Montello said the delivery room gives vehicle advisors a chance to go over each car's features with the owners without having to deal with cold, rain, snow, heat or any other kind of weather.

Apart from the new space, Bernard's also has remodeled some of its existing space to better serve customers. Now there's an expanded café area, and the parts department has been upgraded. Several offices were also spruced up due to the project.

To celebrate the grand opening of their new space, Bernard's is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m.

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